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Should hospital provide and launder scrubs?

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I'm looking for feedback re: Does your ED mandate a particular color uniform? Who launders your scrubs? Who pays for your scrubs? ED staff is exposed to more blood and body fluids than any other dept. My dept. currently requires black scrubs, that we are to purchase, and launder. Thus, we are transporting biohazardous materials home in our cars, whether we wear them home or change at work. Then, some of us stop at the grocery or drycleaners in our biohazards. Then, we place the biohazards in our regular Kenmore, with our family's laundry. Just curious if anyone else is dealing with this.

eatmysoxRN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg,Cardiac. Has 1 years experience.

OR, L & D, and cath lab staff are provided with standard green hospital scrubs. The rest of the staff are required to purchase and launder their own. Any place in the hospital requires bedside staff to be exposed to stuff we'd rather not drag out of the hospital, but it wouldn't be practical for every staff member to have hospital issued scrubs. I've had stool that I didn't know was c diff, blood, mucus and pee on my scrubs too as a Stepdown nurse. I keep extras in my locker and could sneak down and get some hospital issued if I had to. I think it's just part of the job.

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

I don't think ED is exposed more than some other areas. I work in PICU- and get PLENTY of biohazardous material on my scrubs every shift. Yes, our color is mandated (royal blue - yuck) and yes, we launder our own. You have a locker room? You can always change before you leave off shift I suppose.

CodeteamB

Specializes in Emergency. Has 5+ years experience.

We have a mandated uniform, provided by the hospital, and we have laundry service which *nobody* uses. I only use the hospital laundry if I have gross contamination, which is rare as we wear large amounts of PPE for traumas/code browns/etc. our laundry service is really inconvenient because the room is not staffed 24/7 and the schedule can be unpredictable so I mostly prefer to do my own laundry. I just don't wash my little ones' things in the same load.

sandyfeet

Specializes in Emergency Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

I store my scrubs separately after shifts and wash them separately. If I get really badly contaminated at work, our hospital will loan us a pair of OR scrubs. That has only happened once in 10 months. I credit wearing all-white scrubs as a student; taught me to be cautious of my surroundings!

NurseOnAMotorcycle, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Emergency, CEN. Has 10 years experience.

I don't think ED is exposed more than some other areas. I work in PICU- and get PLENTY of biohazardous material on my scrubs every shift. Yes, our color is mandated (royal blue - yuck) and yes, we launder our own. You have a locker room? You can always change before you leave off shift I suppose.

E.R. has extra large amounts of "I know you've been caring for this patient for the last three hours, but they're C.Diff." (or MRSA, or VRE, or shingles, or have lice, or all of the above!!)

Our hospital had scrubs sized and ordered for emergency staff that they would wash and replace, but they've since made it optional and then gotten rid of it altogether. (Budget cuts, of course.)

-NoaM who has just been proclaimed negative for tuberculosis after having a pt found positive several months ago.

Edited by NurseOnAMotorcycle

We have our scrubs provided by the hospital, as does L&D, OR/PACU etc., and Cath Lab. The scrubs are dark navy blue (good for hiding blood). These scrubs are laundered by the hospital and we pick them up from separate lockers whenever we run low and store them in lockers on our floors. We have these big metal bins that we put dirty/ used scrubs in after a shift (or if you get blood etc on you).

Personally, I think it works really well- I keep my shoes at work additionally in my locker, so I usually don't feel TOO icky coming home after work.

We just started this in nursery and L&D- and I hate it! We have no locker rooms (lockers are stashed in a hallway out of pt site), so we have to change in the bathroom (yuck) and its a private bathroom so for 5 people to change before and after shift holds up report. The scrubs are that yucky OR green, ill fitted (boobs and butts threaten to flop out), hems drag all over the floor (if you roll them up its super uncomfortable on the girl bits), and uncomfortable. I think I was most upset with the lame excuse they gave us for the switch. Just tell me "because I'm the boss" if you're going to give me some stupid reason. Oh well, leaving this hospital quick fast and in a hurry.

Posting from my phone, ease forgive my fat thumbs! :)

psu_213, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 6 years experience.

I'm looking for feedback re: Does your ED mandate a particular color uniform? Who launders your scrubs? Who pays for your scrubs? ED staff is exposed to more blood and body fluids than any other dept. My dept. currently requires black scrubs, that we are to purchase, and launder. Thus, we are transporting biohazardous materials home in our cars, whether we wear them home or change at work. Then, some of us stop at the grocery or drycleaners in our biohazards. Then, we place the biohazards in our regular Kenmore, with our family's laundry. Just curious if anyone else is dealing with this.

Technically the hospital, not the ED, mandates the color of scrubs...they also mandate that the scrubs have the hospital monogram on it. I launder my own scrubs. The hospital gives employees an allowance for scrubs, but often not enough to cover 100% of the cost.

As for the biohazards issues. You can maybe argue that ER nurses are exposed to more blood (some days) than other nursing departments (perhaps?). However, when you include all body fluids, there is no way that ER nurses are exposed to a significantly higher level of fluids than ICU nurses, med surg nurses, PACU nurses, GI lab nurses, etc., etc. Most of those nurses also have to take their scrubs home to wash them, so it is not just the ED dealing with this.

The other issue here that you raise is that of the grocery store/drycleaners (add McDonalds, convenience store, Target/Walmart, etc, etc). What if you go to the grocery store and pick up a head a lettuce right after it was touched by someone who just came from the hospital where they were visiting an ill family member? What about the doctor who takes 'biohazards' out of the hospital on his suit jacket? What about the paramedics who transport an isolation pt? They probably have pathogens on their uniforms, in their truck, etc.--who knows where those are going to go. Needless to say, when it comes to the worry about spreading germs outside of the hospital, scrubs are only one small issue.

For me, it comes down to taking the proper precautions at work, being careful when it comes to biohazards, but not making myself crazy worrying about the fact that there are million on germs with which we come into contact everyday, both in and out of the hospital.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

Welcome to AN! The largest online nursing community!

Well...years ago when we had to wear white they were at our expense, although the hospital used to give and allowance, AND we washed them. They stopped the allowances so we started wearing colors to hide the stains. (Nothing like charcoal on white) But we still washed our own.

I have washed my own uniforms for 34 years. I wash them separate from the family. They are the last load that is done followed by an extra hot wash with bleach and rags to wash the car. My shoes never enter my house and if it is that soiled I will change at the hospital and throw the heavily soiled scrubs in the trash....they're not that expensive....and they are tax deductible.

I find grocery carts and public restrooms more disgusting and I wear those clothes home. You can take precautions but don't go crazy.

brillohead, ADN, RN

Specializes in Cardio-Pulmonary; Med-Surg; Private Duty. Has 5 years experience.

We just started this in nursery and L&D- and I hate it! We have no locker rooms (lockers are stashed in a hallway out of pt site), so we have to change in the bathroom (yuck) and its a private bathroom so for 5 people to change before and after shift holds up report. The scrubs are that yucky OR green, ill fitted (boobs and butts threaten to flop out), hems drag all over the floor (if you roll them up its super uncomfortable on the girl bits), and uncomfortable. I think I was most upset with the lame excuse they gave us for the switch. Just tell me "because I'm the boss" if you're going to give me some stupid reason. Oh well, leaving this hospital quick fast and in a hurry.

Posting from my phone, ease forgive my fat thumbs! :)

Um, I do believe you're rolling your pant legs up WAY too high if they're putting pressure on your girly parts! Eye20Twitch.gif

Racer15, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED. Has 5 years experience.

Our colors are black, charcoal, brown, and turquoise. We buy our own scrubs, and we launder our own scrubs. I wash my scrubs separate from all of my other laundry, no big deal. There are days I go shopping before I head home, and I'm more worried about the cart I'm pushing around than the scrubs I have on. I like wearing whatever brand I like, as Grey's Anatomy are the best fitting for me.

ChristineN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric/Adolescent, Med-Surg.

We actually had some CNA's file a lawsuit at my hospital because they have a mandated scrub color, which there are no hospital laundry services provided for. Their argument is they hospital should be washing their uniforms or they should be reimbursed for doing so at home if it is a mandated uniform. I never really understood the lawsuit and thought it sounded silly. FYI nurses can where whatever they want where I work.

psu_213, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 6 years experience.

We actually had some CNA's file a lawsuit at my hospital because they have a mandated scrub color, which there are no hospital laundry services provided for. Their argument is they hospital should be washing their uniforms or they should be reimbursed for doing so at home if it is a mandated uniform.

Was there not a lawyer out there that told them their case did not have a snowball's chance in Hades?

Was there not a lawyer out there that told them their case did not have a snowball's chance in Hades?

I don't think they stand a chance at what they are aiming at- but they CAN win with the reimbursement of cost or the hospital supplying uniforms. That's been don't before and awarded with a yearly stipend.

Posting from my phone, ease forgive my fat thumbs! :)

I don't think they stand a chance at what they are aiming at- but they CAN win with the reimbursement of cost or the hospital supplying uniforms. That's been done before and awarded with a yearly stipend.

Posting from my phone, ease forgive my fat thumbs! :)

Posting from my phone, ease forgive my fat thumbs! :)

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 13 years experience.

I have to wear my Army uniform in my ER. These things are not cheap ... about $40 for the top, $40 for the pants. Good boots are at least $90. I got a one-time $600 uniform allowance when I commissioned into the Army, but it didn't cover everything -- I spent about $1K to get everything I needed. There are all kinds of "prices" one pays to wear this uniform! Haha. Our civilian nurses wear scrubs -- no mandated color. Hopefully we're switching to scrubs very soon, it was a power struggle/political thing that kept us in our combat uniform while at work. Of course, just in time for me to deploy outta there for 9 months! I was so looking forward to wearing my poor, sad, lonely scrubs. I have no idea what I'll be wearing while deployed -- probably scrubs, though.

I have to wear my Army uniform in my ER. These things are not cheap ... about $40 for the top' date=' $40 for the pants. Good boots are at least $90. I got a one-time $600 uniform allowance when I commissioned into the Army, but it didn't cover everything -- I spent about $1K to get everything I needed. There are all kinds of "prices" one pays to wear this uniform! Haha. Our civilian nurses wear scrubs -- no mandated color. Hopefully we're switching to scrubs very soon, it was a power struggle/political thing that kept us in our combat uniform while at work. Of course, just in time for me to deploy outta there for 9 months! I was so looking forward to wearing my poor, sad, lonely scrubs. I have no idea what I'll be wearing while deployed -- probably scrubs, though.[/quote']

I'd kill to be able to break out my BDUs to work! The pockets! The comfort! And yes, my boots were SEVERAL hundred dollars, but I've had them for years and I'd KILL to be able to wear those! Walking on clouds! Keep in mind though, uniform allowance is not for what you want, it's for what you need- and $40 tops and $50 bottoms and $90 boots along with $12 for a three pack of shirts---well, $600 will have you clothed for 3-5 days. Good enough for government work!

Posting from my phone, ease forgive my fat thumbs! :)